Rain wipes out home advantage for Wolverhampton Wolves
Wolverhampton’s home form deserted them when it mattered most in last night’s Premiership play-off semi-final.
The Parrys International Wolves slipped to a 49-39 defeat at the hands of Swindon, leaving them with plenty to do in tonight’s second leg in Wiltshire. An unexpected downpour shortly before start time levelled things out somewhat with Wolves losing any prior home track advantage.
And after some hard work by the track staff, it was the visitors who adapted to conditions better as they opened up a six-point lead with three races gone.
American reserve Luke Becker provided the hosts with their first race winner in heat four, with Jacob Thorssell settling in for third to record their first advantage.
And they took the lead in the next in dramatic fashion when both Swindon riders crashed out of the fifth. 2017 world champion Jason Doyle slid off in the opening bends before Adam Ellis came down on his own, gifting Wolves a 5-0.
But a series of needless errors and impatient moves from the Monmore men would eventually come back to bite them.
Kyle Howarth tried to move into third place too soon in heat six, as did Becker as a reserve substitution in heat 10.
At that point the damage wasn’t too bad thanks to a 5-1 from skipper Rory Schlein and Nick Morris in the rerun of the ninth after Troy Batchelor stayed down unsportingly in the initial staging.
But the visitors would come on strong as they made the better of the starts to secure two further maximums in the space of three races. And the 10-point gap was formed as Peter Adams’ men handed back a gift 5-0 in the penultimate race. Morris was thrown out of the first run after crashing out on the opening turn before Becker again slid off in another case of trying too hard.
Wolverhampton 39: Rory Schlein 10, Sam Masters 8+2, Luke Becker 8, Nick Morris 4+2, Jacob Thorssell 4, Ryan Douglas 3+1, Kyle Howarth 2.
Swindon 49: Jason Doyle 11+1, Tobiasz Musielak 11, Claus Vissing 7, Adam Ellis 6, Rasmus Jensen 5+2, Troy Batchelor 5+2, Ellis Perks 4.